Scanning Around With Gene: The End of a Personal Journey
Next week marks the tenth anniversary of my column here at CreativePro, and I’ve decided to make that edition my last installment of Scanning Around With Gene. I think I’ll miss the weekly routine, and I know I’ll miss the thoughtful comments people have been so kind to post over the years. But whether it’s thanks to good therapy, or just the effects of aging, I’ve become less compulsive about collecting old magazines, brochures, pamphlets and other ephemera. After 316 installments and over 10,000 scans, I’m running dangerously low on material, and I don’t want to repeat myself (though that’s exactly what I’m about to do).
In trying to decide how best to take a self-indulgent look back, I realized that I’ve been a bit schizophrenic over the years, regularly shifting between columns that were primarily personal in nature, and those that revolved around specific image themes or subject matter. This week I’m reviewing the more personal side of things, and next week I’ll highlight some of my favorite subject-matter images over the years, which tend to stand on their own better. Many of today’s images, on the other hand, are only interesting in context, and then probably only to me. Click on any image for a larger version, but be warned that some images only survive in low-resolution, so the larger version is a machine-generated blow-up. I’ve linked back to a few of my favorite columns – you can find a complete list here if you’re interested.
I began this column as an attempt to chronicle the set up of a vintage letterpress print shop in my garage – a “gift" my wife Patty bought me on eBay and for which I had high hopes. Here’s a picture of the Russian Orthodox priest who owned the shop before me, and a couple of views of my garage set-up, which made for good pictures, but not much in the way of actual printing.
I did, just before giving up entirely on the project and admitting defeat, manage to print one limited-edition poster for Patty, a tribute to the Ramones. Her car now sits where the presses were, and all I have to show for those years are a couple of metal stock-art cuts and some chipped bricks that I ran over with a forklift while moving in one of the presses.
The headaches actually began pretty soon after I started writing the column, as Patty and I took charge of our teen-age nephew Marc (shown below with his brothers John and Luc). Marc was a handful and I probably wrote too much about the trials and tribulations of being a parent over the years, but it was what was happening at the time.
I really wanted to be the one who saved Marc, and I had great fantasies that I’d be the one person who was able to get through to him and connect on a meaningful level.
Once the print shop was dead, my column shifted to, well, just about anything I could think of to talk about where there might be a few images to show. Naturally the topic turned to my dad on a number of occasions – I actually think I’ve written more about him than anything else.
Dad was an artsy/crafty type and I think I got some of my skills directly from him. He made his own Christmas decorations and family Christmas cards, built a boat, made educational posters for my mom (more on her in a minute), and lived his life like the good boy scout he was.
My mom, on the other hand, was more practical, you could say neurotic, about the health and well-being of her children. She was a school nurse and believed in cleanliness and safety above all else. I wrote about her on a number of occasions, especially after her death a few years ago.
I’m no stranger to self promotion and have had no problem talking about myself and my various experiences over the years. I talked about my early experiences on the high-school yearbook, my teenage adventures as a scuba diver, my first car (a 1960 Corvair) and my mini bike.
My personal musings were always just an excuse to run certain images I found, and I generally assumed most people skipped the text and scrolled quickly through the pictures hoping for something worthwhile. But I do feel like, for me, this column has been a form of therapy and it’s done me a tremendous amount of good over the years. For that I am truly grateful and sincerely thank everyone who has supported me (more on that next week).
Next installment: a final look at some favorite visual themes from the past ten years.